On Saturday, Councilman Mark Capodanno (R-Centerport) partnered with the New
York Metropolitan USO to hold a Holiday Card Drive to let our GIs know
that Americans at home care about them and appreciate their sacrifice for their
country this holiday season.
Councilman Capodanno said, "The response was overwhelming. I think we
accomplished exactly what we had in mind—reach out to our GIs when they need it
the most." Capodanno said that in addition to a tremendous out pouring of
personal sentiments, shoppers donated over $2000 to the USO to help keep up its
"The cards were signed by young and old alike and they came from the heart,"
continued Capodanno. "I was amazed how eager children were to send a message."
He said that most children spent considerable time crafting their letters and
painstakingly drawing pictures to accompany their greeting to those far
One little girl wrote: " Dear Soldiers, thank you for saving our world, Love
Another, Kyle, wrote, " I love you, thank you for fighting for us." He also
wanted his pen pal to know how old he was, adding, "Love Kyle, age 5-in-1/2" .
There were grown-ups touching hearts as well. A wife whose husband would soon
to be deployed to Iraq, stopped to thank Councilman Capodanno and the USO.
Capodanno responded: "No, no, we thank you and your husband for your service to
America what you both are sacrificing is so much more than we can ever do".
Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of soldiers who are already serving in
Iraq stopped at the USO table, where they shared fears and sometimes tears,
before writing a brief message to a GI they did not know but was fighting along
side their loved one. Said Capodanno, "Their selflessness is unimaginable, it is
truly a humbling experience."
The volunteer team spent more than ten hours at the mall, which required
volunteers working in shifts and they came from all walks of life. Tracey Golden
and Lisa Farmer, members of the Walt Whitman High School Key Club, signed up for
two hours and stayed all day because they felt so good knowing they were
bringing a little piece of home to our men and women overseas. Kristen Aramande
and Caitlyn Dailey, students in Ms. Tedeschi's Government class at Huntington
High School, also wanted to be part of the day. There was a professional
engineer and mother of three, a crossing guard whose son is away at college; a
member of the Knights of Columbus, a local business owner and a school teacher
with her husband.
Cathers thanked all the volunteers. "Everyone has been simply terrific! We
are already making plans with the Councilman for Valentines Day! The USO has
found wonderful and true friends in Councilman Capodanno and the Huntington
For those who still want to send a greeting, cards are available at the front
desk of Town Hall along with a return envelope. You can also make a contribution
to the USO, a charitable, not-for-profit agency that depends on the support of
individuals. The USO serves GIs all over the globe. It operates mobile centers
with a friendly smile and a warm cup of coffee on a cold day, helps plan events
like this one at the Walt Whitman Mall and even arranges video conference calls
between soldiers and their families, so they can see the faces of their loved
ones as well as hear their voices.
For further information on the USO, or to make a donation to support our
troops please call 1-877-USOMETRO or visit the USO's website at